The Aegean Sea is an elongated bay of the Mediterranean Sea located between the mainland of Greece and Turkey. It covers about 214,000 square kilometers (83,000 square miles) in area. East of Crete the sea reaches its maximum depth of 3,543 meters (11,624 feet).
Greece has a long history dating back at least to the 8th century B.C. Many consider it the cradle of Western civilization and the birthplace of democracy. Greece was the first area in Europe where advanced early civilizations emerged.
From the Neolithic age, Asia Minor was the route used by those migrating west from the Near East. They helped spread agriculture to the east coasts of Greece and Crete during the 5th century B.C. and then to the whole of Europe. In the 6th century B.C., the kingdom of Lydia almost expanded to the whole of Asia Minor until it became part of the Persian Empire. After the end of the Greek-Persian wars, the cities on the coasts became part of the Athenian-dominated Delian League, which lasted less than a century. In the 4th century B.C., Alexander the Great conquered the peninsula by defeating the Persians. After Alexander's death, Asia Minor was ruled by a series of Hellenistic kingdoms that came under Roman control two hundred years later.
The Sea and the Gospel
The region in the above map is where Apostle Paul spent a great deal of time spreading the gospel and where he arguably achieved his greatest missionary successes.
During his second missionary journey (49 to 52 A.D.), the Apostle Paul evangelized in the Aegean region the cities of Troas, Neapolis, Philippi, Amphipolis, Apollonia, Thessalonica, Berea, Athens, Corinth, Cenchrea and Ephesus. The church in Philippi was the first European church founded by Paul. His third journey (53 to 58 A.D.) had him visiting and (usually) preaching in Ephesus, Troas, Neapolis, Philippi, Thessalonica, Berea, Corinth, Assos, Mitylene, Trogyllium, Miletus, and Patara. During his fourth missionary journey (60 to 63 A.D.), he landed on the island of Crete (Fair Havens) on his way to Rome to stand trial.
The Aegean Sea is also the place where the Apostle John wrote the book of Revelation, the last book of the Bible. He was exiled by Roman Emperor Domitian to the island of Patmos in 95 A.D. "because of the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ" (Revelation 1:9). He penned this final section of Scripture after receiving several visions that were meant to shown things that will soon come to pass (Revelation 1:1).